Eric Gordon Wins 9th Pay Less Little 500; Cottle Hunt Claim Podium Spots

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After not winning the Pay Less Little 500 for several years, Eric Gordon returned to the winner’s circle to take his ninth spring classic at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

Gordon started 20th in the 33 car field and drove a patient race throughout, working his way up to 12th after 100 laps, ninth after 200 circuits and in the top three for the next 200 laps.

When Shane Cottle in the Contos Racing entry pitted for the second time on lap 443 that gave Gordon the point and a one-lap lead on the field.

Gordon hugged his nine-year old son Jake after exiting Bowman Racing entry.

“This was a whole team effort,” he said. “We had a good car and a good strategy. The race went flawless despite a bad qualifying spot.”

Gordon said at the 250 lap mark he knew the team was in a position to contend for the win because on the final stop they would but on tires.

Last year Gordon finished second and in 2008 had a 29th place showing which snapped a string where he finished in the top three ten times winning seven times.

Cottle took the lead on lap 343 when Jacob Wilson pitted and dominated until he had to make his final stop.

“I tried to beat the pace car to stay on the lead lap,” he said. “We ran out of fuel, it’s a good race car. The team has a good strategy for this race.”

While leading on lap 386 Cottle cut through the turn three infield grass after being forced off the pavement by a lapped car. Despite the excursion, Cottle was able to retain the lead.
“I wanted to drive on dirt, I was tired of racing on asphalt,” the dirt track specialist quipped.

Third place finisher Tony Hunt said on the final pit stop the team had an air gun break and had to manually knock off the nut to change the tire.

“It was a solid finish,” he said. “We finished with the same motor and last year it overheated.”
The race was led early by pole sitter Levi Jones, who remained out front for the first 163 circuits when he made his first stop and gave the lead to Chris Windom. Windom stayed in front until lap 223 when he pitted which gave Wilson the lead.

Wilson was clearly the dominant car in the middle stages of the race pulling away from Jones after each caution period. After making his second stop Jones car seemed to fade and he was put a lap down by Cottle on lap 422.

He was running third on lap 433 on the lead lap when he tangled with the car of Troy Decaire in the fourth corner and went several laps down to the leaders.

It again proved to be a disappointing night for Warsaw’s Tony Elliott when he made contact with the lapped car of Tim Jedrzejek in turn two. Elliott’s car suffered suspension damage and was parked for the night.

Aaron Pierce developed an oil leak on lap 102 while running fourth and Donnie Adams Jr. finished seventh after a flat tire late in the race.

Utah driver Ryan Burdett was named rookie of the race after starting 30th and finishing 13th.

There were four lead changes among five drivers and ten cautions for a total of 147 laps.